The battle between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) owned iOS and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) owned Android has raged fiercely for the last five years. Android has relentlessly captured market share over the past five years, taking the mobile OS world by storm. But even with 79% of the market share, Google is still unable to reap the profits. Android’s free mobile strategy to the masses is commendable, but not the most profitable market strategy. Hardware vendors gain more through this strategy, by customised the OS to suit their needs. Price sensitive smartphone customers in India, China and Brazil are swelling Android adoption numbers, but largely being confined into the ‘free’ zones and not making payment though platform.
Apple has devoted its time and money to cultivate a hardcore consumer following that appreciates premium products, despite their high price. The iPhone and iPad maker earns directly through the sale of its iOS powered devices. Its seamless mobile experience, allowing customers to easily buy songs, apps and movies through a flawless user interface, is another huge wining factor. It follows logically that Apple customers on average, have more disposable income and likely higher incomes. It’s no surprise that Apple is ranked as the world’s most valuable company in 2014 with a market capitalization of US$436.6 billion. It also boasts a 76% retention rate among its users, but faces challenges in attracting new customers.
Here is an infographic highlighting the war between the top two mobile operating systems, and the inequality between market share and money.
- Android OS currently powers 79% of all devices, while iOS boots on 14.2%.
- In 2011, the market share of Android OS grew the fastest to 50.2%, up from 27.9% in 2010. It was also the year where iOS had a 23.8% market share, its largest till date.
- Nokia’s Symbian OS had the largest market share in 2010 at 37.6%. Blackberry held the second position with 19.9% of the OS market.
- iOS users are 5 times more likely to buy things online than Android users.
- An iOS user makes an average transaction of US$93.94 while an Android User spends 48.1$ per transaction.
- The iOS store had 60 billion downloads as of October 2013, while the Google Play store had 50 billion downloads as of July 2013.
Online retailers will be forced to recognize that iOS is currently the most profitable mobile segment. One of their top priorities will be to make sure that their e-commerce stores is rendering beautifully on Apple devices. Google is rumored to be creating an Apple like experience through its Android Silver project, while Apple is pushing an 8GB version of its iPhone 5C model in emerging markets to scale up its market share. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has also jumped into the fray by giving its Windows Phone OS for free. No matter which moves these tech giants make, it will be the customer who ultimately wins.